Spirit of America Festival

The Spirit of America Festival is one of the largest free Fourth of July celebrations in the Southern United States. The two-day outdoor festival, set at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama, hosts a variety of traditional summer activities. The event is organized and staged by an all-volunteer board.
The major highlights of the festival are the presentation of the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award, the presentation of the Barrett C. Shelton Award, the Miss Point Mallard pageant, and also the presentation of one of North Alabama's largest aerial fireworks displays.

The Spirit of America Festival began in 1967 as anti-Vietnam War protests grew throughout the United States. The citizens of Decatur, AL, decided to show their support for the servicemen and women in Vietnam, and to promote patriotism in America through the presentation of an annual Fourth of July event.

Over 10,000 people gathered in a local high school stadium for the first Spirit of America Festival.
In 1970, a Miss America preliminary pageant was added to the festival’s line-up, Miss Spirit of America, along with family games and other special events. In 1976, the Spirit of America Festival relocated after an outdoor stage was constructed for at Point Mallard Park, a local municipal park, owned and operated by the City of Decatur. The pageant title was changed to "Miss Point Mallard" from 1976 through 2013. In 2014, the pageant moved to the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts and resumed the "Miss Spirit of America" name.

Air Force Captain Gerald O. Young, in his first speech given since receiving the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, directed a great tribute to the “American Soldier” to a gathering of over 20,000 people.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan addressed a crowd of over 60,000 people at that year's festival.

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